In a bid to ensure the free flow of people, goods and services, authorities in Guyana and Suriname have intensified discussions towards a change in border protocols between the two neighbouring countries.
That change would likely be a reduction in the number of customs and immigration checks to be conducted when travelling between the two states.
Currently, the main mode of transport is the Canawaima Ferry Service which operates a 30-minutes trip between Moleson Creek, Guyana and South Drain, Suriname once daily.
But the two governments have made significant progress towards bridging the Corentyne River although construction is yet to commence.
The recent formation of a Joint Business Council between the two private sector bodies – the Private Sector Commission of Guyana and the Surinamese Business Association (Vereniging Surinaams Bedrijfsleven – VSB) – has resulted in an intensifying of these discussions.
Chairman of the PSC, Paul Cheong told the News Room on Monday that changes will have to be made to improve trade relations between the two countries by removing existing barriers even as the two sides look to share training opportunities and research data.
He said the dual checks both at Moleson Creek in Guyana and South Drain in Suriname have proven to be too much of a hassle even as they pointed to arrangements at the drive-through border between the United States of America and Canada.
Cheong said the Business Council has started those discussions but further assistance from governments and immigration and customs officials would be necessary.
“We will have to work together to see how we eliminate those checks. Maybe, we will have to share information… this is just in the discussion phase,” Cheong said.
He said the Business Council will continue to identify issues affecting trade and work to get the authorities to eliminate or reduce them.
The Business Council has received the blessing of both Presidents Irfaan Ali and Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
The council was formed as the governments of Guyana and Suriname strengthen bilateral relations, allowing for PSC and VSB to also realise the importance of the involvement of the private sector.
The PSC and the VSB said the established Business Council, consisting of key representatives of the private sector, is solely dedicated to the strengthening of economic ties and initiatives regarding the shared interests and the creation of the envisioned Single Market and Economy.